Ideas for Yates’ new body of work began after a series of events in the artist’s personal life over three years ago. Simple sayings began to resonate as warning signs during this time. Hold Your Horses, and Cool Your Jets, set the stage to heed open ended warnings, and acts as reminders of different era's sayings: to slow down/shut down/shut up or keep it in/try and keep it together. The charred surface of the work both sets up a sense of tragedy, while also through its silky black carbon surface and fine cracked texture seduce its viewer and masks those same warnings.
Kevin Yates has invited Sara Maston to share the exhibition space in the new project series Invited. He was initially drawn to her paintings for the contrasting appearance to his jet-black sculpture. Colours can be muted and bright, with subjects both soft and in focus. You can become lost in the romance of them. Spending longer with her paintings you begin to realize that they present barriers to both the subject and the act of representation. It was the earlier work, Meri Looking Away, which most literally represents this. An intimate close up of a pet budgie with its back towards the viewer offers us its beauty and vulnerability, but the awkwardness of the bird’s stance, and its position within the frame pushes us back out into a space of longing. This subtle aspect relates to areas of interest to Kevin beyond any crossovers of subjects or materials and echo an awareness of the limits of representation and understanding.
Throughout the spring and summer, as Maston’s dependence on online platforms intensified with the pandemic, so too did a specific longing: to dig a hole. This desire stemmed from a visceral urge to smell different kinds of roots and feel the cool/damp/granular material of the earth. Her friend, who is trained in archaeology, taught her how to dig a very precise hole. The structure of the hole was what intrigued Maston, but not for excavation or collection purposes. Nested systems are sometimes perceptible, as a mushroom coming up overnight in the cooler fall season, and other times operating in silent interrelationships as in networks of invisible fungi irrigating the roots of trees. A simple hole will suffice in allowing closer proximity to what we oftentimes overlook: multiple lifeworlds beneath our feet operating in parallel to our own sensibilities and to one another.
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